The Gross National Debt

Monday, March 18, 2013

The dangers of friends


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The vast majority of the people who read these irregular ramblings will agree with much of what I say. The few things on which we disagree are not fundamental disagreements. More a matter of tone.

Unfortunate. Most unfortunate.

When I read for edification and pleasure, v. strictly for pleasure, I seek out writers who discuss things I don't know much about. I look for columnists with different points of view. I look for people who pen words that, indeed, are in marked contrast to the views held by myself.



In case yer not wondering, when I read strictly for pleasure, I pull down the stuff of fairy tales, unicorns, mages, alien invaders and humor.

In other words, I actively look for writers who disagree with me. Liarberal firebrand Susan Estrich is a particular favorite. A committed feminist and mysandrist (at least in my view), Susan has a distinct way with words. When she climbs Mt. Everest to preach from the mountainside is when I enjoy her work most. When she blathers about finding something to cook for supper, I tune her out.

I want her to challenge me. Make me think. Make me prove my point, my belief, back up my opinion and support my argument with logic and not heated rhetoric. Such writers are a treasure.

At the same time there are writers whom I will not read even if threatened with revocation of my library card. Ann Coulter is one, since I opened with XX chromosome writers. I think she authored a book with the title "How to Talk To a Liberal (If you have to)" which pretty much defines the word pedantic to me.

While I can learn from those who agree with me, I can learn much more from those who disagree with me. If nothing else, I learn whether or not they are capable of independent thought or are simply a mindless minion like the Dittoheads. If they can think for themselves, then AYE! There's someone to pay attention to. If they can't, file them under the mental filing cabinet instead of in it.

By seeking out those with different and even opposing views, I engage in something called growth.


The only way anything living grows is to encounter, test and in some way accommodate opposition. That accommodation can be going over, under, through, around or even leaving and going somewhere else without that opposition.

If nothing else, that which grows must encounter gravity.

The harder the opposition the stronger the living must be to handle it.

Me? I'm not cut out to be a weakling.

Furthermore, that which is not living does not grow.

Therein is the danger of friends. Surround yourself with people who believe the same as you, think the same as you and act the same as you and, well, you're doing nothing more than living in Plato's Cave. Some of my closest friends on the planet have fundamental differences with my views. I cherish them for that.

I leave you with a final comment from another writer who says the same thing I just did, just as eloquently and a lot more tersely.


"If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.

Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.

It will do both of you good.” -Vera Nazarian

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